This thing called having a life on a Friday night reared it's ugly head again. This has to cease. Review tomorrow morning.
Edit: OK, it's Saturday morning, back to normal, review time!http://www.threestooges.net/filmography/episode/112http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040255/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BfOBPePAT3Q
Watch CRIME ON THEIR HANDS in the link above
I thank you all for welcoming me to your computer screens for 112 weeks! I can't believe we've made it this far. From a DVD perspective, this concludes volume five. I just took out volume six and put it by my TV, where it will be staying for months, and looking at the list of shorts coming up, I smiled. A few clunkers, but the majority of the upcoming shorts I really enjoy and it signifies my favorite part of the Shemp era - the part where the budgets are lower to give the Shemp shorts a more distinct feel, but not so low we are robbed of new footage. I know there's controversy about this, so it should be fun.
Now for this week's short, CRIME ON THEIR HANDS. This is one of those shorts I always say I enjoy, but never rank as high as others. Then when I watch it, I realize I like it better than I remember. I like it when this happens, as overall, I find this short totally enjoyable.
First, for the realism. Yes, there's a real death portrayed in this one. The guy in the phone booth giving the tip about the Punjab Diamond gets gunned down, and I've read people say that this does not belong in a comedy and brings down the mood. I can understand the opinion, but I disagree. For my threshold, the scene first off is done excellently from a cinematic point of view, I love the close up shot, but as far as the comedy, well, the scene is done early on, quickly, and with a character I have no attachment to. This isn't like the Stooges themselves being tortured and subsequently blown away in HALF-SHOT SHOOTERS. So to me, a well filmed scene that gives the film some slight legitimacy as a comedy with a noir/gangster setting. Nothing wrong with that.
Thematically, this is another short where the boys are blue collared workers aspiring to a higher paying and more glamorous position in life, here it's janitors wanting to be reporters, and all they know about reporting comes from the movies. The part where Shemp acts like a reporter and tells Moe how the reporter always yells at the boss is a highlight. Larry is the more subservient one here, as he will do whatever Moe says, and this also leads to my all time favorite Moe line before a slap. He slaps Larry and tells him it was for absolutely nothing! Moe doesn't need an excuse this time, and has never been more honest about it.
I've stated in the past sometimes a bit of realism heightens Stooge humor, and there's a good example of that here. Yes, Moe assaulting Larry with a brush is funny, but it's even funnier when done in the presence of a beautiful lady like Christine McIntyre. Check out her reaction when Moe's assaulting Larry, she's aghast, which makes the scene even funnier in my view. Another Christine related highlight for me is when she sits next to Shemp and Shemp touches her arm. As he does this, he shakes and makes a little sound, as if he never touched a woman before. Another funny, subtle little bit with tons of context.
Overall, this short just rules. Every performer is in top shape. Christine is her usual combination of beauty, humor, and acting chops; Kenneth MacDonald is playing one of his better roles, as he is almost in glee as he chews the scenery trying to get that diamond out of Shemp, and Cy Schindell gives us one last great role as the villain sidekick. Check out the great look on his face after the gorilla knocks him out, it's facial expressions like that which is why I love Cy. Cy continues a tradition of filming his last Stooge role eleven months before his death and having it released after the fact. He died, way, way too young and this is the point in the story where we say goodbye. The guy was rarely given a major role, like so many other people who appears in these shorts, but unlike those others, Cy always made the best of the situation whenever he was on the screen.
I watched this on a Saturday morning instead of a Friday night and I'm glad I did, as it feels like perfect Saturday morning fare.